Birth Announcement

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DraftFCB, that bold experiment in branding and direct marketing synergy, sent a news release Sept. 21 to all those who matter in the media world. Let's share some of that content to give you an idea how DraftFCB parent Interpublic Group of Companies Inc. is positioning this new agency as the model for the future.

First, the headline. "DraftFCB Announces New Organizational and Operational Structure." Then come three subheads: "Agency's Behavior-Based Approach Identifies Insights that Incite Consumer Behavior While Delivering 'Return On Ideas"; "Business Problem Solvers Put Equal Emphasis On Creativity and Accountability"; "Boschetto Named President & COO; Oates Named CFO."

By the way, it's "Return On IdeasSM."

The Chicago- and New York-headquartered agency takes four pages to elaborate on its vision, its disciplines, clients' accountability and creative needs and consumer demands. It points out that once officially integrated Jan. 1 with a single P&L, DraftFCB will have 9,000 people on its rolls across 110 countries.

While positioned as a merger of the venerable Foote Cone & Belding and ROI-driven Draft, a list of the new leaders at DraftFCB does show the scales tilting toward executives with a direct and interactive background. In other words, many of the senior managers come from the Draft side. They should, since this is a world where marketers who can't track their return on advertising spend will trail customers.

DraftFCB should be given a chance to prove itself. The task is not easy. Right upfront is the issue of melding two cultures. Then there is the question of adequate client buy-in. Interpublic also has to worry about Wall Street and its view on the short term. A stumble or two in 2007 and 2008 may cause some to question the decision to ally branding services closely with direct, interactive and database marketing under one shingle.

Howard Draft, the new chairman/CEO of DraftFCB, has a lot of vim and vigor. Plus, he has a strong team to help with this transition: Laurence Boschetto, Mr. Draft's No. 2, and global chief creative officer Jonathan Harries. Both are co-chairs of a 35-person integration committee.

The creation of a new agency inevitably leads to new buzzwords, tag lines and that reliable sweetener: job titles. Messrs. Draft, Boschetto and Harries know the tricks of the trade.

So to mention just a few beyond the obvious are DraftFCB's designations for those who have bought into the merger plan: chief administrative officer; chief digital, direct & CRM officer; chief growth officer; chief media officer; chief promotions, retail & advertising officer; chief talent officer; chief information officer; chief insight officer; and chief incite officer. A pity CEO is already taken: chief editorial officer sounds rather grand. Does one have to work?

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